Junkballing: riding the river of news

A startling amount of news from the beat writers and analysis from bloggers today. Inge likes catching, Cabrera at first base, and more.

Inge says catching is fun

Brandon Inge is just too fascinating to resist. The very different views of his defense, the despair over his offense, the sympathy and lack of sympathy over his plight to get traded, his early season success while essentially being a full time player the first 25 games, people clamoring for Inge to return to third base, it’s the gift that keeps on giving for bloggers. Now it appears that Inge thinks catching is cool.

Inge said Tuesday that he still prefers to play third base — “my first love” — and that a chance to play at third regularly could persuade him to play elsewhere.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m not gonna lie,” Inge said, “but I’m good with the catching, too. I don’t like sitting.

“And I love Detroit. I love everything about it.”

It’s quite the shift from his stance this spring when he was catching and complaining about it, and doing it enough to draw ire from me. He later backed off those statements when it became clear Vance Wilson wouldn’t be breaking camp with the team.

I’m in agreement with Ian and Kurt that the possibility of Inge catching next year if Pudge Rodriguez isn’t back would definitely be a nice option for the Tigers to have.

Leyland to cement Cabrera’s spot in baseball history

Jim Leyland is personally feeding the JUGS machine to make sure Miguel Cabrera knows how much the skipper wants him to succeed.

“There is no way, shape or form that I will ever back down — ever — from moving Cabrera to first base,” Leyland said. “That is Cabrera’s position. There is no doubt in the history of baseball that is his position. I will argue it with anybody. That is where he needs to play, and he should be outstanding.”

That’s quite the statement. I don’t know exactly what the part about the history of baseball means, but it sounds good. The only quibble I have is that Cabrera’s best defensive trait is his arm, which becomes non-existent at first.

Tigers head East for talent


Detroit Tigers Thoughts
points me towards a Baseball America article
reporting that the Tigers have signed Chao-Ting Tang from Taiwan. I didn’t know the Tigers were scouting that side of the globe, but I’m encouraged that they still continue to invest in R & D even when the big pleague payroll is at record highs.

Re-examining the Jurrjens-Renteria trade

Mack Avenue Tigers goes back in time as people lament the fact that Jair Jurrjens is tearing up the NL while the Tigers are searching for quality starting pitching. Kurt is dead on when he points out where would Jurrjens fit in the rotation? He’d be taking Galarraga’s spot.

The answer is, as the top remaining prospect, he’d already have replaced Dontrelle Willis. Armando Galarraga did that, and he did that quite well. So we have to advance the question: Would you be calling for Galarraga, some guy in the minors with sorta middling stats, to replace Robertson or Rogers? Would you have the gall to have him replace Justin Verlander or Jeremy Bonderman? I highly doubt that. So either way, what has to happen is the four horses the Tigers have must perform. Anyone who thinks one of those guys is going to lose his job is kidding themself.

Jurrjens is a decent bet to outperform Galarraga in the long haul. And it would be nice to have Jurrjens to slot into Kenny Rogers spot next year. But not having Jurrjens hasn’t been the problem this year.

Pitchingto the score

Some fantastic work by Detroit Tiger Tales as he does a study to look at the concept of pitchers pitching to the score. It’s the reason often attributed for Jack Morris’s high ERA. Lee shows which pitchers see a bump or decrease in performance in close games versus blowouts and finds that Morris is pretty typical.

6 Comments

  1. Mike R

    May 7, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Great links, Bill. Kurt is 100% spot on with his assessment of Jurrjens.

    And can we just have Brandon Inge stop talking? I like him talking almost as much as I like watching Leyland construct a lineup and a defensive alignment.

  2. scotsw

    May 8, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Brandon apparently has a very cool old farmhouse out in Dexter that is in the middle of some extensive renovations and expansion. It’s in a lovely spot near the Huron River, and if I were Brandon, I’d be looking for ways to stay put, too.

  3. jason

    May 8, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Why do people on TV and radio keep insisting that the Tigers should get Barry Bonds? Even if he wasn’t a total jackass and distraction to the team and the organization, where would fit into our lineup? We have 3-4 DH’ers already. I don’t think all the people who say such things even stop to think what exactly that would mean for the team.

    Having to put Guillen/Cabrera/Sheff on the field just so you can have Bonds in the lineup doesnt sound like fun for whoever on our team is pitching that day. Especially when it would likely mean that Inge would be the one who finds the bench.

    Anyway, I’ve heard multiple people mention this in the last few days, and I just don’t understand it.

  4. Chris in Dallas

    May 8, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    I’ve long lamented the fact that the Tigers infield defense sucks, and that can partially be to blame for the lackluster starting pitching. I don’t know if this means anything, but the Tigers pitching staff is yielding a .251 opponents average on ground balls. For perspective, the league average is .224. Teams with what’s generally considered good pitching fare better here (Toronto – .200, Oakland – .199, Halos – .218). To me this seems to indicate that the below average ability of Tiger infielders to convert ground balls into outs takes its toll on the Motor City Five. (Sorry, couldn’t resist an MC5 reference)

  5. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 8, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Given Leyland’s comments on Cabrera at 1B, how is it that they didn’t see all that history of baseball stuff right away, or at least realize it during the spring? Is it Guillen’s early season play at 1B that forced the move, then?

  6. greg

    May 8, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Amen Chris. Pitching has had a number of problems, but among the worst is the porous defense, and the biggest culprit of the porous defense is Guillen, again, its not just his limited range, its that he refuses to fully bend over most of the time for routine plays. Its why he HAS to DH or the pitchers are in for long and frustrating year.